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  • Transcription is the first step in gene expression. It occurs when DNA is unzipped, and an RNA polymerase, through the process of base pairing, builds a new RNA strand. The strand of RNA is made up of genes that correspond to each molecule in the DNA. The end result is a molecule that can leave the nucleus.
  • During the process of translation,  the mRNA is "read" to form a strand of amino acids. Each codon is joined to its corresponding amino acid by the transfer RNA. After the strand of mRNA moves through the ribosome, the protein it produces will form into a 3D shape.
  • Sometimes, mistakes are made in the replication process, causing the resulting genes to have an abnormality. These are known as mutations. When a mutation occurs from longer stretches of DNA up to entire chromosomes, it is called a chromosomal mutation.
  • Chromosomal mutations can change the organism itself because any differences in the number of chromosomes can lead to disorders, such as Down syndrome.
  • Mutations can occur throughout the replication process. During transcription, base substitutions often occur. This is where the wrong nucleotide is put into the RNA strand. The results can either be harmful or neutral. DNA bases can also be inserted or removed, resulting in misread codons later in the translation process.
  • For example, the addition of another part of Chromosome 21 causes Down Syndrome. This result is harmful because it results in intellectual disability and physical abnormalities.
  • DNA is known as the blueprint for all life because it contains all the genetic information needed to code for physical and genetic traits. If the blueprint is not followed correctly, it can result in mutations, which can be harmful, neutral, or beneficial.
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